Caught in the Act
Act Two: The Setting
The September sun had set behind the thick leafy backdrop of the forest near his home when Goten finally arrived. Damn days are getting shorter, he swore, stuffing his hands into his pockets and landing with a soft click on the doorstep. He could only imagine what his mother would have to say in regards to him being late. That damn woman just couldn't leave the boy alone. You think she would have learned after Gohan left, Goten thought wistfully, gently turning the handle of the door in a half-hearted wish that maybe he would go undiscovered.
Alas, poor Goten, such was not to be.
"Goten, is that you?" As though it would be anyone else. He vainly regretted not having the childhood of his older sibling-his mother may have been hard on his brother, but she was always easier to manage when Goku was around. The demi-Saiyan refused to call him father. Fathers helped to raise their children. They didn't pass up a wish to live in favour of the afterlife.
Bracing himself against the wall, the young man clumsily succeeded in removing his shoes before the woman walking in from the kitchen could complain about it. Again.
"Yeah, mom. Sorry I'm late..." The glare he received from behind the stray tendrils of black hair that defied the severe confinement of her bun was enough to swallow any other words he may have thought to say.
"Son Goten," Oh, shit, here it comes... "Where have you been?"
The demi-Saiyan swallowed hard; choosing excuses for his mother was a matter to be dealt with by a professional jeweler. Only someone skilled in such an intricate art could possibly maneuver around her venomous viper's tongue.
"I told you, mom," he sighed, depositing his blue canvas bag on the chair by the door. "I was going to go to see Trunks after school today-"
"Young man, that is not where that goes," the woman snapped, snatching up the offending bag and shoving it into his chest. He caught it with a painful huff, the air fleeing his lungs in sadistic glee. Everyone else seemed to tragically forget that his mother was probably the strongest woman in the world while he was reminded on a daily basis. Biting back the instinctual growl that rose unbidden to his lips, the demi-Saiyan gripped the top of the bag in one hand and turned to walk down the hall to his room.
"And don't you give that look, Goten! You know better." The boy rolled his onyx eyes heavenward as he kicked open his bedroom door, tossing the article into the void of shadowy darkness and hearing his mattress creak as it landed.
"Yes, mother," he mumbled, shutting the wooden door and moving to traverse the hall back toward the lighted kitchen.
Chichi stood with her rigid back to the entryway, stirring what promised to be another meal of rice and vegetables. Dende, after raising a demi-Saiyan and living with another, one would have thought that the woman had learned that the race needed more sustenance than the leafy green concoction she seemed to conjure in abundance. Hell, Bulma-san may have been a despicable cook, but at least it was eatable...and even if it wasn't, Vegeta-san rarely allowed himself or his offspring to starve. There was always something to eat at Capsule Corp...
"Goten, stand up straight." His dark eyes fluttered up from their observation of the floor and the demi-Saiyan sighed heavily as he pushed off the doorframe with his shoulder, standing upright. Shuffling to the table, the young Son pulled out one of the rickety old chairs that surrounded the square surface and seated himself, drawing up his leg to rest his chin on one bent knee.
"Now Goten, I thought we had discussed your relationship with Trunks." Oh, fuck, not this AGAIN.
Closing his eyes briefly and praying for patience, the son calmed his weary anger enough to reply. "Mother, I told you before. That was just a rumor some stupid kids at school started."
The sharp clatter of pots on the stove was enough to inform the boy that his answer was not enough to satisfy his raving mother.
"I know, Goten, but I already told you that I think it would be best if you stayed away from him. He's a bad influence on you, anyway." Her thin shoulders slumped as she sighed. "Just like his father."
"I'd rather be like his father than mine..." The demi-Saiyan mumbled, silently reflecting on all of the times Vegeta had been there when he and Trunks had managed to dig themselves into another dangerous corner. Digging at a tiny dent in the wood of the table with his thumbnail, Goten was entirely unprepared to look up into the angry raven stones of his mother's eyes.
"What did you say?"
"I-I'm sorry I lost track of the time...mother." Dark eyes narrowed suspiciously and for an agonizing moment, Goten was sure that she hadn't bought it. The tiny hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention and his muscles were painfully tense against the back of the chair. Dende, please, just leave me alone...
"Hmph." Spinning again to the steaming stove, Chichi used the metal spoon in her hand for more than intimidation, vigorously stirring the boiling pot on the front burner. "How was school?" Cringing, Goten ran a fatigued hand through the unruly hair he had inherited from his absent father. He abhorred these questions-always questions! Especially about school. She wanted him to say that he loved it, to thank her for taking him out of his old school, away from his friends, away from the teachers that loved him, away from being Gohan's little brother, away from Trunks...
"It sucked." Oh, shit, did he say that out loud? What the hell was wrong with him today? He almost couldn't bring himself to look up-that ditch in the table was looking pretty damn interesting...
"Goten!" The shiny metal utensil was brought down hard on the surface before him, jerking out of his isolated musings, the flat sound ringing harshly in his ears. "You know I don't allow that kind of language in my home! I swear, no matter what I do for you, you never appreciate me." Oh, Dende, not this guilt train. She'd recited it so often, she had nearly run the bastard off the track.
But wishing it away did nothing for Goten's unsympathetic reality. He winced inwardly as he watched the inevitable take place yet again before his exhausted eyes.
"I just don't know what to do with you! I've tried so hard..." Goten waited impatiently for the cue that would thicken her voice with a sob. "I'm so afraid you're going to turn out like your brother..." Hn. There it was. Good old predictable Chichi. But we've run this number a couple times, haven't we mother? Think we got down the act?
He was too empty to feel the classic guilt of the situation as he watched his mother wipe a wrinkled hand across her forehead and slump into the chair diagonal to his own. "If only your father were here..." Goten's wide, caring eyes hardened into twinkling onyx stars that burned hotly in Chichi's direction. His chest grew tight with the effort of holding back his rage. The simple act of breathing became a laboured task as he listened to his mother cast delusions of how the world would automatically fall into place with the magical presence of Son Goku. He just couldn't take it anymore...
"Well he's not here, is he!?" The chair flew backward to crash noisily against the cabinets as he lurched to his feet. "And he's not coming back! So stop pretending that the whole fucking world would be better just because he's in it! He's not!" The demi-Saiyan had only a moment for the shock to sink in as he felt an abnormal heat searing against his cheek. Raising a stunned hand, the boy looked to his now standing mother with wide, wounded eyes.
"You slapped me." It wasn't an accusation, only a fact, like commenting on the weather...he could have easily have said that it was raining. The impenetrable shield of her inflexible obsidian eyes never wavered as she lowered her palm down to join its companion on the table.
"Son Goten, go to your room!"
Wordlessly, the young man stalked down the hallway, ripping open the door to his room with furious momentum. Half way through the action, he lost his grip on the adrenaline singing off key through his system. The anger wasn't his to hold, it never had been. He had been raised too well under the influence of his older brother to lash out unhindered. Though just once I'd love to be like Vegeta-san and throw a real world-be-damned temper tantrum. Maybe then they'd take me seriously.
The door shut with a quiet click and he leaned back against it as his body gave out and he slid down the vertical surface to land in a pile of quivering tears on the floor. Five trembling fingertips stroked the stinging flesh of his cheek as he squeezed out the burning product of his rage.
His mother had slapped him, really slapped him. She wasn't a Saiyan; there was no way the small woman could possibly cause him physical harm. But something deeper, more tender within him screamed out the agony that his throat would not voice. The miniature river of scalding tears only increased as he allowed his dam to break, the uncertain grip he had over his emotions slipping through an uncaring hand.
His mother had slapped him, Trunks wouldn't speak to him...school was a joke. The woman couldn't get it through her selfish mind that taking him away from Trunks was ensuring that he had no friends to speak of. Since he could walk and breathe, the lavender haired demi-Saiyan had been a constant in his life. Now he was alone...
Gripping the polished knob above his head, Goten managed to gain his footing, stumbling through the evening darkness toward his bed. He was so damn tired...it seemed that everything that could have gone wrong had. And he was left with nothing to show for his heartache and pain.
Collapsing onto the welcoming softness of his bed, he tried desperately to drown out the sound of his mother slamming the pots and pans in the kitchen on the other side of his wall. If only Trunks were here...But he wasn't and never would be. Once those rumors had started, Trunks had made his position on the matter all too clear.
His eyes adjusted gradually to the dimness, the soft, moonless night outlining the window with the natural illumination of the stars that sparked into being as he watched, bright, glittering pinpoints that eased the black void of the nighttime sky into quiet, shrouding velvet. Blinking away the stickiness of his drying eyes, Goten sighed, allowing his drowsy state to settle in. It is was easy, in this peaceful interlude between sleep and awake, to imagine strong arms enveloping him, that comfortable husky scent that he had grown up with...his consciousness drifted along the tranquil sea of his fantasies; his breathing evened, deepened, relaxed...
...Strong arms...beautiful, slender hands...those liquid obsidian eyes that fastened him to the spot...dark, course hair that he just yearned to run his fingers through...
The calming division between his reality and his dreams disintegrated as his ebony eyes shot open. His nightly fantasy of Trunks had somehow bled into Vegeta. Swallowing hard, he squeezed shut his eyes, appealing to his reason, over his raging adolescent hormones. He couldn't see Vegeta-san that way...it wasn't...right. Ok, so the man was sexy; he could admit to that. And catching him in the act of dancing earlier in the afternoon may have forced the young Son to see the prince in a way that had not previously occurred to him...
Groaning, Goten turned his flushed face into the pillow, pulling its plush mate over his head. Just thinking about it made his wicked mind replay the image of Vegeta, hips rocked by the upbeat pulse of that irritating song that he couldn't stand until he'd had a visual aid to persuade him. And those hands...Dende damn him, but he would have killed to have Vegeta caress his body like the prince had his own. Stop it! This isn't right...Vegeta-san is three times my age, for Dende's sake! And he's Trunks' father...No! It's Trunks that I love, not Vegeta. It was a nice sentiment, but Goten failed to inform his defiant body of his well meant decision.
Lying on his stomach, the demi-Saiyan fought with impressive will to ignore the insistent ache between his legs. His hips pressed reflexively into the bed, teeth clenched in a mighty battle between his body and his mind. Think of Trunks! He almost succeeded in his intention. The mischievous smile and dazzling blue eyes came readily to his mental projection. The feeling of panicked wrongness faded as he flipped himself over onto his back, one hand throwing the pillow away from his head to land on the floor beside the bed, his arm sliding up the comforter to rest above his head. As long as it was Trunks...and not Vegeta.
He didn't realize that he was panting, the thin September air gliding down his lungs, only to be shortened abruptly as he fumbled with the clasp on his uniform khaki pants. The demi-Saiyan had to relieve some of the mounting tension in his groin or he was going to either cry or kill someone. He was already partially aroused, whether from thoughts of Trunks, or Vegeta-no, it had to be Trunks. Goten had maintained a faithful crush on the older boy for years, he refused to acknowledge that his painful state had anything to do with the full-blooded Saiyan prince.
A trembling sigh exhaled lightly on the starlit darkness as his warm hand enveloped his throbbing need. Forcing the muscles in his throat to work, he swallowed, closing his eyes and willing himself to believe that it was his purple haired counterpart who stroked him with a firm grasp, coaxing his hips to rise with long, luxurious caresses to his sex. Oh, Dende, it felt good to lose himself in the carnal sensation of mindless pleasure, to forget, in that decadent instant, all the worries and problems that plagued him. His rhythm quickened, along with his heavy breath, as he drove himself mercilessly to the edge-of reason, of fulfillment...
Yes...Strong hands on his body, dark, glimmering eyes that seemed to know so much more about him than he did...That seductive, Saiyan scent that clung to his nose even after he had left his royal presence...
By the time Goten realized where his subconscious had abandoned him, he was too close to stop. Opening himself up to the passion that boiled in his belly, he snapped his head to the side, biting the soft inside of his arm to keep from alarming his mother with his frenzied moans. The metallic, sensuous taste of his own blood only drove him deeper...higher...submerging his senses in the forbidden lust that ravaged his teenage body.
It was with the Saiyan prince in mind that he found release, arching his back gracefully off the mattress, the warm, sticky result of his passionate act coating his hand as it milked his body for all it was worth.
After reaching such heights, there was only one way for Goten
to go-he crashed down from the heavenly sensation, the bed
creaking with the weight and power of his Saiyan build. Purring
softly in the aftermath of his self-gratification, the
demi-Saiyan closed his heavy lidded eyes to the logic that
tripped along the edges of his consciousness. He didn't want to
think about what he'd done-about what it meant. He wanted to bask
in the divine glow of his release and succumb to the siren's call
of sleep. Yawning, the young Son manipulated his body until he
was able to tug the quilt over his weary frame. Sinking down
gratefully into the fluffy pillow, Goten began his journey into
dreams-one word breathed quietly into the darkness as the black
night blanketed the slumbering demi-Saiyan.
"Papa wants to talk to you, niichan." Trunks looked up over the top of the refrigerator door toward his sister who sat perched on the kitchen counter like a summer faerie-sprite, munching on a chocolate chip cookie that easily dwarfed her small hands. Grinning mischievously through a barrier of fudge and doughy crumbs, Bra reminded him strangely in that moment, of his father. He briefly wondered what Vegeta would look like if he ever took the time to relax and do something incredibly normal. Like eat a cookie. Snickering at the image of a chibi Vegeta, Trunks ducked his head back into the cool interior, snatching the glass container of strangely coloured liquid that would serve to satisfy his Saiyan thrust.
"Arigato, Butterfly," he replied, wiping the magenta mustache of moisture off his upper lip with the sleeve of his shirt. Giggling at her nickname, the little sprite grabbed another cookie from the jar at her side and proceeded to nibble a circle around it. Pausing to chew, and then swallow, the little demi-Saiyan shook her blue, curly head.
"Don't thank me. I don't think he's very happy with you..." Trunks stopped, mid stride on his way into the living room, and looked over his shoulder, leaning against the doorframe with a thoughtful expression. Gnawing on his lower lip, the boy moved slowly back into the room.
"Hey, Butterfly, did Goten come by today?" Immediately, her pink complexion brightened, a cute, rosy blush of excitement tingeing her childish cheeks.
"Hai! He didn't stay long, though...but he talked to Papa for awhile. And he's coming back tomorrow!" Trunks drew down his lavender brow in confusion.
"He talked to Papa? About what?" Goten never had much to say around Vegeta before. Why he would start now was beyond the other demi-Saiyan. A scratchy knot began to form in the depths of his stomach as he thought of what his father could possibly have to say to the other boy.
All he got in response was a well-placed shrug amidst the mumbling of a mouth full of fresh baked cookie. Smiling despite the worry twisting mercilessly in his gut, Trunks chuckled at the humorous image of his sister.
"You shouldn't eat too many of those, you know, Butterfly," he remarked playfully, closing the distance between them and ruffling her aqua hair, reaching around into her treasure horde of cookies to retrieve one for himself.
Bra scoffed, managing to improve upon the image of her father, and scooted off the countertop, leaving messy streaks of chocolate as her gooey fingers pushed her forward. "Gram makes them everyday. It's my job to eat them." Her small feet hit the floor with a clackety smack. "Besides, it's not like Papa devours them. You know he hates chocolate." Trunks nodded absently as the other demi-Saiyan made her way across the kitchen, idly consuming the food in his hand. Gram really did make the best damn cookies...
"Hey, is mom home?" Blue, smirking eyes found his own as Bra glanced back before turning the corner. There was a secret in those eyes; he could swear she knew something he didn't...
"Nope. She had to work late again."
Vegeta grunted in satisfaction as the muscles in his arms tore under the strain of the intensified gravity. The crimson light of the chamber bathed his bronze skin a bloody russet hue, his flame of onyx hair glittering with strands of brown and gold and red. Balancing himself on one hand on the upside of a pushup, the prince reached down and turned the yellowed, aging page of the book beneath him.
Ah, there was the boy's marking of the scene, distinct and written in a clear hand. Licking the salty sweat from his lip, the prince lowered his torso to about an inch off the floor before gritting his teeth to force his body weight back up. So far the play had him amused, though whoever wrote the damn thing was entirely too long winded for his own good. He never would have survived his father's court...The king had allowed such men to entertain him on Vegeta-sei, granted, more blood had been involved, and those who acted were never Saiyans...but such men had existed for particularly jovial occasions. Until Frieza had demanded that all such activities cease. Vegeta shook his head sharply, pumping out three consecutive push-ups to rid him of the thought. There was no use thinking on that...
Duke: Come hither, boy: if ever thou shalt
In the sweet pangs of it remember me;
For such as I am all true lovers are,
Unstaid and skittish in all motions else,
Save in the constant image of the creature
That is beloved...
The prince made a disapproving sound deep in his throat. Hn. Stupid Duke pining away after an idiot female...That's all the man seemed to do in the play-complain about the woman who spurned his wanton affections. He should go on and hunt her. Stop wasting his time trying to woo her. How humiliating. And he's a moron not to see that his servant is a woman...baka should be able to smell it. The Saiyan simply could not understand how one man could be so blind to the matter. And it's obvious as hell that she's in love with him...
Duke:...My life upon't, young though thou
art, thine eye
Hath stay'd upon some favour that it loves:
Hath it not, boy?
Viola/Cesario: A little, by your favour.
Duke: What kind of woman is't?
Viola/Cesario: Of your complexion.
Duke: She is not worth thee, then. What years, in faith?
Viola/Cesario: About your years, my lord...
It's you, baka! The Saiyan shook his head, irritated. Humans were so stupid sometimes. It was staring the pompous Duke right in the face. If he didn't watch out the bastard was going to find himself hunted and mated by the servant wench. Vegeta chuckled, immensely amused by the thought. Bonded to a low class soldier for life due to his own selfish wiles. Served him right.
"Papa?" The metal door was pushed open with a tentative inquiry, the dense gravity in the room dropping instantly with the intrusion and returning to normal. One more powerful movement of his arms, and Vegeta had his feet beneath him, the muscles in his thighs tensing as he stood to face the boy who remained resolutely in the entryway. Bending at the waist, the prince pocketed the soft paperback before ceasing all movement to regard his son.
As he crossed his arms leisurely over his slick, sweating chest, he allowed the silence to settle, watching the nervous habits of the demi-Saiyan surface-shaking fingers that raked through his human hair, tucking it behind one ear that perked through the lavender veil; an uncertain gaze that flickered toward his own before abandoning that challenge in favour of the harsh, sterile walls that bent inwardly, a claustrophobic's nightmare.
"Where have you been, boy?" His voice was pitched deliberately low, forcing the young man to move further into the room to determine the precise words. Trunks' shoes created a soft, shuffling echo as he fell into his father's trap, walking closer, but maintaining an obvious distance from the Saiyan prince.
"I was out with some friends, Papa...I thought I told you that." Vegeta silently scoffed at his eldest offspring as the boy not only lied to him, but made it very evident that he was attempting it. He was fidgeting more than a five-year-old and he couldn't hold the steady gaze of his father to save his wretched life.
"Kami, boy, if you're going to lie to me at least put forth a better effort than that. It's pathetic." Pale blue eyes shot up to meet his own before the colour drained from his strained face and he lost his resolve, averting his eyes.
"I'm not lying to you, Papa...I was out with friends." Well that was better. Trying to divert the falsehood by focusing on a truth. But, unfortunately for Trunks, his father was smarter than that.
"Where were you supposed to be?" The boy had been anticipating this conversation-Vegeta could smell the apprehension that radiated off his taught form. Which meant he had spoken to Bra, who had predictably told him what Vegeta had known she would. Good girl...That was the child who never disappointed him. She was the real heir to the throne of Vegeta-sei.
"Umm..." The demi-Saiyan coughed lightly into his curled fist, kicking at the tiled floor with the toe of his worn out sneaker.
"Here!" The demi-Saiyan's teenage body jerked to attention as though his limbs were attached to invisible strings held in the firm grip of his father.
"You made a promise and I don't care if he is the half-breed brat of a third class baka! You are a Saiyan prince!" The last word was cut off savagely with a muted growl, Vegeta's long, lustrous tail unfurling from his waist to whip dangerously at the air behind him. The boy looked as though the Saiyan had physically struck him, his wide, vibrant eyes pained and filled with untapped guilt.
"It will not happen again, understand me? I will not have my royal blood tainted by your ungrateful hide! When you make an appointment, you keep it." Vegeta's body shivered with the passionate anger of his outburst and he waited expectantly for the boy to respond, to fight back, to...
"Hai, Papa," came the mumbled reply, dashing the Saiyan's futile optimism at the prospect of sparring with his son. Snarling in blatant dissatisfaction, the prince wound his tail back around his midsection, the appendage twitching with the intensity of his battlelust. Weak...he won't even stand up to me. Hn. Too human for his own damn good. Narrowing his hard, onyx eyes, the prince once again addressed his son.
"We will not have this talk again. The next time something like this is brought to my attention there will be no words." He would beat it into the brat, if that was how he wished it...though the stark fear that bled all colour from his offspring's features informed him that this would no longer be an issue.
Dismissing the boy from his presence by giving the demi-Saiyan his back and proceeding to resume his training, the prince silently wondered why the brat didn't flee the room. He was still there, staring blindly at the floor as though the interlocking tiles were runes that he had cast, enabling him to somehow see the bleakness of his future. Vegeta heard his mouth open and close a myriad of times before the courage was summoned and drawn, like the sword of his future self, slicing through the quiet.
"P-Papa...Bra said that Goten was coming back tomorrow. Does that mean that I..." Glaring at the boy over the gravity controls, Vegeta gave his head one, firm shake.
"No. I've already cleaned up your mess, boy." One could almost say that it was relief that seeped into his angular features and it's very presence caused the prince to knit his brow. Before it's existence could be pondered, the boy was gone, leaving nothing in the room save the echo of his mumbled apology and the heavy sound of the door shutting in his wake.
Turning his attention back to the red lettered panel before him, Vegeta again set the gravity to a level suitable for training. Drawing the tattered book from his rear pocket, made more so by being confined to the tightness of his pants, the prince bent back the worn cover, flipping through to the page covered in thin, black lettering. Now that the matter with his boy was taken care of and he was secure with the knowledge that the brat would never dishonour his status in that way again, he could return to focusing on matters that called for his immediate attention. He would never admit that the play had caught his fancy, or the fact that he was actually looking forward to his meeting with Kakarott's brat tomorrow afternoon. It was an ideal chance to hone his skills in a completely different arena, one that he had not even taken the time to consider, given his strict fighting heritage.
Positioning himself for another round of grueling push-ups, the Saiyan went back to his reading, parted lips forming whispered half words as it followed the text.
Then let thy love be younger than thyself, or thy affection cannot hold the bent...
Yes, tomorrow could prove to be very interesting...